What Is Hospice?
You've probably heard of it, but what is hospice, exactly? Hospice is a special kind of care offered to patients and families who are dealing with an illness or condition that's considered to be terminal. The concept behind the care is to make the patient and their family as comfortable as possible and to offer support while they cope with the illness or condition. There are currently more than 4,700 hospice programs within the United States as of 2006. No one likes the idea of putting their loved on in hospice, but there's an estimated there are 1.4 million patients in hospice care programs.
The underlying goal of hospice care is to improve the quality of a patient’s life in a dignified manner that makes the patient feel comfortable, which is a relief for many families dealing with this difficult situation. While the care does entail medical care, such as pain management, it doesn't treat or cure any illness or condition. It's not designed to prolong life, but instead make the patient's remaining days the best and most comfortable possible, which is what matters most.
The care providers consist of specially trained professionals and volunteers who work together to ease the pain and symptoms a patient’s illness or medical condition causes, allowing you to be certain your loved one is in good hands. The care providers not only provide comfort for a patient’s physical needs, but also provide for their emotional, spiritual and social needs as well. Counseling services are offered to both the patient and his family to help cope with the situation.
Hospice care can occur in a hospice facility, but most care occurs in the patient’s or family member’s home. In-patient facilities, including nursing homes, offer the same services and care offered with on-site facilities, making the choice for hospice less of a burden.